The title can be slightly deceiving, because a Catholic priest can sometimes be referred to as a pastor while some Protestant pastors can be referred to as priests. So here is a list similarities and differences between the two that should help you distinguish one from the other.
- Priests are always men whereas Pastors are not always necessarily men.
- Pastors can get married whereas priests cannot. If a priest does get married it's because they were married in the Anglican Communion and then converted.
- Pastors can have biological children and so can priests but the only way they can do this without risk of getting in trouble is through the process explained in #2.
- You can’t just decide to be a priest, but you can decide to be a pastor if you want.
- Priests typically wear the clerical garb while Protestant pastors can dress a little more casually in suits, ties, jeans, or whatever they wish. This makes priests a little easier to spot than pastors because they are dressed in the unmistakable clerical garb.
- Priests tend to hear more confessions of sin than Protestant pastors. This is because Catholic priests are given the authority to act in persona Christi to forgive personal sin.
- Priests are less likely to spend their time thinking creatively about the details of worship services than the average Protestant pastor because the details of the day to day don’t vary too much.
- The average priest tends to deliver more sermons than your average minister and this usually comes out to them delivering about one a day.